Road Chatter - the Cornell Local Roads Program monthly e-newsletter

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A View from the Road—December 2016

David Orr PE, Director, CLRP

Asphalt, concrete, brick, or gravel?

Today, these are the four materials used to surface a highway. There is one more material that has been used quite a bit: wood. You might have heard of plank roads in rural areas, but wood streets were common during the 1880's in American cities because they were quieter than cobbles and there was lots of wood available. However, the wood blocks used were prone to rutting and did not have good friction in the rain and snow (not to mention an odor on hot days when there were fumes from the horse waste that was absorbed into the wood). New York City, Washington, Detroit, Cleveland, and Chicago all had wood streets. Searching the internet, I found examples of such streets that still exist in Philadelphia, Chicago, and Cleveland.

Wood block pavement at the 200 block of South Camac Street in Philadelphia. Wikipedia

Trying something new does not always work, but if you don't try you will never know. What innovations have you tried lately?

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Training

Traffic sign handbook update

We have just received funding to update one of our most popular publications—the Traffic Sign Handbook for Local Roads. There are a number of minor changes to be made since it was last updated in 2011. They should be out early in the new year.

Tech Tips

Test your knowledge

Interesting articles

Road Crews Prep for a Snowy Winter Season, The Snow Plows Are Coming
WSYR

PHOTOS: Drivers tackle Snowplow Rodeo
Times Herald-Record

Pedestrian Forum Newsletter
FHWA

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